Cross Country | Saturday, November 23, 2013
Freeby, Bennett Named All-America at NCAA Cross Country Championships
Willamette Women Finish 12th in Team Standings, Best Among West Region Teams
HANOVER, IND. -- Willamette University's Michaela Freeby (Jr., Milwaukie, OR/Milwaukie HS) and Parker Bennett (Sr., Sisters, OR/Sisters HS) both earned All-America honors, and the Bearcat women achieved a 12th place team finish at the 2013 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships, hosted by Hanover College at the L.S. Ayers Athletic Complex on Saturday, Nov. 24.
Freeby placed eighth in the women's 6-kilometer race with a time of 21:29.7, while Bennett finished 32nd in the men's 8-kilometer race at 25:20.3. Athletes who place in the top 35 at the NCAA Championships receive All-America recognition.
Freeby, who was named the West Region Women's Athlete of the Year last week, is the Bearcats' 10th women's All-America selection since 1999. Bennett is WU's eighth men's All-America athlete since 2001.
The Bearcat women's 12th place team finish is Willamette's best team result since placing ninth in 2007. WU placed higher than any other West Region team in the final standings. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.), which narrowly bested Willamette at the West Regional last weekend, finished 14th.
Also contributing to Willamette's team score were Taylor Ostrander (So., Soldotna, AK/Kenai Central HS), Olivia Mancl (Fr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS), Juliet Farnan (So., Lafayette, CA/Campolindo HS), and Annette Marinello (Jr., Corvallis, OR/Philomath HS).
Ostrander completed the race in 22:07.1 to take 41st place. Mancl registered a time of 22:29.5 and placed 80th, while Farnan was timed at 23:12.4 for 180th place. Marinello earned a time of 23:20.1 and finished 197th.
Willamette's women earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships after taking second place at the NCAA West Regional behind Freeby's individual West Region title. Bennett competed in the men's championship race after receiving an individual automatic bid following his second place finish at the West Regional.
The women's team championship was earned by Johns Hopkins University (Md.) with a score of 85. Williams College (Mass.) finished second at 137. Middlebury College (Vt.) achieved third place at 185. The University of Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tied for fourth at 261.
Chelsea Johnson from The College of St. Scholastica (Minn.) attained the women's individual title with a time of 21:11.7. Johnson placed 15th at the 2012 NCAA Championships. On Saturday, she won by 10.6 seconds.
Noelle Olson from St. Olaf College (Minn.) recorded second place at 21:22.3. Kaleigh Kenny from Williams took third place in 21:23.7. Hannah Oneda of Johns Hopkins finished fourth in 21:27.7, and Lucy Cheadle of Washington University (Mo.) placed fifth at 21:28.3.
St. Olaf won the men's team title with a score of 84, just edging defending national champion North Central College (Ill.) at 86. The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse took third place at 155, and Washington finished fourth at 167.
Williams placed fifth at 218. C-M-S claimed 19th place as the highest-rated West Region team.
Michael LeDuc from Connecticut College won the men's individual championship with a time of 24:29.3. Nelson finished 13th at the 2012 NCAA Championships. This year, he won by 3.8 seconds, with John Crain from North Central taking second place in 24:33.1.
Grant Wintheiser from St. Olaf placed third for the second year in a row at 24:34.8, and Eli Horton from Central College (Iowa) was fourth at 24:35.2. Wylie Mangelsdorf of Principia College (Ill.) was fifth at 24:47.1.
The NCAA Championships ended an outstanding season for the Bearcats.
In addition to the team's success at the West Regional competition, Willamette swept both the men's and women's Northwest Conference team championships. Freeby and Bennett both claimed individual titles at the NWC meet. It was the Bearcat men's 21st overall team championship, and their 10th since 2001. The Bearcat women's title was their ninth since 2000.
Head coach Matt McGuirk was chosen NWC Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year and NWC Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year. He has been named NWC Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year nine times and NWC Women's Cross Country Coach of the Year on four occasions.